FSB Scotland asks Scottish Government to think again on DRS

With 6 months remaining until the rollout of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has reiterated its call for the Scottish Government to either pause or pare back elements of the scheme.

FSB’s Scotland Policy Chair Andrew McRae said: “As with many of the new regulatory schemes being introduced by the Scottish Government in the coming months, the DRS is the product of a commendable policy aim – a policy aim that FSB supports. Where DRS stumbles is that, in its current form, it is destined to fail and will damage small businesses, who make up the majority of traders in Scotland.

“From independent producers, to small retailers, to importers and exporters, confusion reigns.  Promised clarity on, for example, online sales has not materialised.

“We have always encouraged the Scottish Government not to view business as a monolith. Many small businesses are already running on empty after years of crises. They lack the dedicated resource to change their labels, redesign their shop floors or renegotiate all of their import and export deals.  And simply exempting smaller retailers wouldn’t be a silver bullet – as there would be adverse impacts on footfall.

“Now, as we face significant political changes, it is time to stop and think. By reassessing the onus that will be placed on businesses, the architects of DRS have an opportunity to create a scheme which will be successful for businesses and consumers across Scotland.”

FSB Member Ross Gourlay of Glencrest Wholesale added: “The scheme in its current form is going to make it hard for me to operate my business at all, let alone operate competitively. Inevitably, we’re going to have to scale back in terms of the choice of products we offer to customers and unfortunately charge more too. Not only is this unfair to shoppers, but it also means that smaller traders like me are going to lose out to the bigger and online stores who have the capacity to deal with all of the demands of DRS.”